Less than three years after an ownership change at Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center (MHMC), the facility has shot up two grades in patient care safety – from a “C” to an “A,” as measured by a third-party rating group.
Meadowlands received an A grade in the fall update for Hospital Safety Score, which rates how well hospitals protect patients from accidents, errors, injuries, and infections. The Hospital Safety Score, compiled with the guidance of patient safety experts, is administered by Leapfrog, an independent industry watchdog.
The Hospital Safety Score is the only hospital safety rating to be analyzed in the peer-reviewed Journal of Patient Safety, according to Meadowlands officials, and is “designed to give the public information they can use to protect themselves and their families.”
The majority – 60 percent – of the safety grades for New Jersey hospitals stayed the same, while only 40 percent of grades changed. Half of the changed grades changed positively, and Meadowlands was in the top 20 percent that improved its ranking.
“We came in like a whirlwind.” – Lynn McVey
She added, “Organizational initiatives dedicated to improving quality, safety, and the patient experience have paid off …”
Since early 2011, shortly after its December 2010 purchase and as part of its effort to improve patient safety and quality, MHMC made physical and technology upgrades to the facility, implemented staff performance standards to ensure patient safety and quality care, and made operational improvements across the organization, according to McVey.
“We came in like a whirlwind,” she said.
The technological upgrades included updating the Central Supply sterilization area to fully automated equipment, eliminating the chance of human error.
Another change was a more aggressive falls prevention program, where patients at high risk are identified and visited more frequently by staff, lessening the chance of such an incident.
Patients more educated
“As patients begin to take a more active role in selecting where to receive health care, it has never been more important to focus on hospital safety and transparency. The ‘A’ hospitals, including Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center, are helping us to raise the standards of health care nationwide,” said Leah Binder, Leapfrog president and CEO. “We offer our congratulations and hope the hospital will continue to strive for an ever-increasing level of excellence in patient safety.”
McVey was ecstatic with the results, not anticipating that the A rating would come so quickly. The hospital had earlier risen to a “B.”
“Nobody expects anybody to jump anything like this,” she said. “It was a great surprise. I expected our A next year. This came six months early, so it was a nice surprise for me.”
The administrator likened the honor to competing at the Olympics, but as a unit, rather than as individuals.
“This is a hockey team gold medal for us,” she said. “There are no spikes in any of the measures; there’s little, incremental improvement for the last 18 months. This involved everyone. This is like a textbook of cohesive teamwork.”
McVey said the hospital improved in all 28 categories that the results were based on.
In addition to this recognition from Leapfrog, Meadowlands received recent accolades from Healthgrades and from Hospital Compare, a program of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
In 2011 and 2012, Healthgrades gave its 5-Star Rating to Meadowlands for gall bladder surgery outcomes. In 2012, Hospital Compare recognized Meadowlands as the highest ranked hospital in Hudson County for doctors and nurses and the highest ranked hospital in New Jersey, and above the national average, for cleanliness.
Meadowlands Hospital’s scores can be viewed by visiting the Hospital Safety Score website at www.hospitalsafetyscore.org.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.